Social media or online interactive platforms allow individuals to interact, create and share user generated content. While not popular in the past, they have risen to popularity over the last ten years and are currently dominating the internet and its traffic.
Popular examples of social media sites include Facebook, the formerly popular MySpace, Ning, and Wikipedia but also include any site including games, social interaction, media sharing, bookmarking, networking, blogging or etc. where people interact. There are thousands of social media sites, each of them different, although many can be synced or networked together for user convenience.
Social Media vs. Industrial Media
Social media is differentiated from industrial media (such as newspapers) in that it allows anyone to publish information rather than only persons with resources and also in that it is not generally a paid thing.
While social media can be used for business purposes including networking, gaining fans, creating hype and advertisement, it doesn’t require professionals to do.
Another characteristic of social media vs. industrial media is that the social media can attract any size of audience, large or small, based solely on the merit of the content.
Many people consider social media as communications platforms. While this is true in many cases, it is also much more. Communications including chat sites, mini blogging, blogging, status and personal sites such as Facebook and MySpace are all communications platforms, but are only a small part of social media.
Mobile Social Media
The rise of the smartphone has led to more and more social users switching to mobile social media. Usually mobile social media uses apps to integrate content sharing from phone to a popular social site, or directly to another app user. Popular examples include Instagram, the Facebook App, eMail applications, free text apps such as WhatsApp and more. Mobile social media is steadily growing with more than 60% of users logging in through mobile to social sites such as YouTube and Flickr.
Social authority is usually determined by the number of followers, friends or likes that one has achieved across social platforms. Gaining social authority can allow users to have more access to people around the world, access more content, or more frequently to access, communicate with and target consumers interested in a certain brand or product.
Corporate social management often involves finding and targeting customers so that they can be used in campaigns, advertisements and sales without paying for costly media.
Individuals also benefit from this in some way in what is known as vanity social authority, this involves massing followers, friends or likes in order to appear more popular or more influential. Companies also sometimes resort to these same tactics as studies report that people are more likely to consider an online purchase if their friends approved of or shown preference for that brand.
Social Media Blogs
- Social Media Examiner – Michael Stelzner runs the world’s largest online social media magazine designed to help businesses master social media marketing with Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn.
- Mashable – Social Media news blog covering cool new websites and social networks founded by Pete Cashmere from his apartment in Aberdeen, Scotland. Also covers news and developments in mobile, entertainment, online video, business, web development, technology, memes and gadgets.
- Soshable – This blog tries to keep up with all things social media, analyze them and then provide fresh insights into the people and structures that drive engagement.
- TechCrunch – One of the best known sources for social media and technology news that also profiles startups, product launches and new websites.
- Brand Savant – Professional researcher Tom Webster tries to make sense of the social web. Principal author of the study Twitter Users In America, The Social Habit, The Podcast Consumer Revealed and other widely-cited studies of consumer technology usage.
- TopRank – Lee Odden runs this popular multiple-author blog full advice on digital marketing and public relations topics including, SEO, content marketing and business blogging and marketing
- Convince & Convert – Social media evangelist Jay Baer, who’s been a digital marketing consultant since 1994, provides no B.S. social media and marketing tips.
- Six Pixels of Separation – Digital marketing and social media insights from Twist Image president Mitch Joel, dubbed the “Rock Star of Digital Marketing” by Marketing Magazine.
- Social Media Explorer – Daily advice on social media marketing, conversational marketing, PR, community building and branding from leading educator, public speaker and thinker in the world of digital marketing and social media Jason Falls.
- Danny Brown – This blog explores the human side of social media and the social side of marketing. Very unique.
- Brian Solis – Author of the book Engage and principal at Altimeter Group, a research-based advisory firm, Brian Solis’ blog is required reading for anyone in the social media business.
- David Fleet – Blog of Edleman’s Vice President of Digital, must-read for anyone who is a communications professional.
- The Anti-Social Media – Jay Dolan pokes fun at social media to help us do it better. Very funny!
- Web Strategy – Jeremiah Owyang was probably one of the first on the social media scene. This Altimeter Group industry analyst has a great take on disruptive technologies.
- AllFacebook – Launched in 2007 and later acquired by MediaBistro, churns out useful content on the world’s largest social network.
- Socialnomics – In-depth insights on the impact of social media on business and the world through short social stories, statistics and studies.
- Techipedia – Tamar Weinberg is a social media enthusiast who breaks down all aspects of digital marketing.
- Social Media Marketing Blog – Head of social media for Ford shares advice on the complexities of online marketing and the convergence of traditional and new media.
Social Media Books
Reading books on social media will not give you the latest information, but it’s a great way to learn the foundational things from the best.
- Likeable Social Media – The lesson behind Dave Kerpen’s book is simple: be likable. Do that and you’ll delight your customers, create an irresistible brand and be pretty awesome on Facebook.
- Groundswell – Great book by Forrester associates Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff that identifies your social media audience and gives you a process to create a strategy.
- Social Media Bible – Everything you need—tools, tactics and strategy–to succeed in social media and transform your small or large business.
- Zen of Social Media Marketing – Good argument that traditional marketing and the new social media marketing don’t mix. Shama Kabani proves there’s an easier way to build credibility.
- The Whuffie Factor – Tara Hunt explains that building a business online is about social capital. She tells you how to get it.
- The Dragonfly Effect – A popular class at the Stanford Graduate School of Business is turned into a handbook on using the power and popularity of social media to do good in the world.
- Content Rules – A great book on how to create content for blogs, videos, ebooks and podcasts that people can’t resist. This one by MarketingProfs Ann Handley
- Big Book of Social Media – Perfect for finding case studies and perspectives on social media success. Great for your bookshelf as a reference.
- Open Leadership – Co-author of Groundswell shows leaders how social media has changed the business landscape and what to do about it.
Social Media Tools
Social media is a full time job. The following tools will help you manage, monitor and measure your social media campaigns efficiently and effectively.
- IceRocket – Keep tabs on who is saying what about you, your brand or your client on the web, Twitter, video and more with this free buzz search tool.
- Kurrently – Free social search engine that shows you what’s being shared on Twitter and Facebook. Clean, simple interface. Free.
- Blekko – Allows you to narrow your social media searches with “slashtags.”
- Klout – Measures awareness across multiple social platforms like Google+, Facebook and Twitter. This site is really growing and you need to watch what it does.
- Socialbakers – Monitor and measure your Facebook stats with their Engagement Analytics PRO or Engagement Builder PRO.
- PostRank Analytics – Helps you measure and improve social media audience loyalty by identifying influencers and measuring off-site engagement.
- Google Blog Search – Another great tool to help you monitor keywords across blogs. Free and just like the search engine, except focused on blogs.
- Social Mentions – Set up alerts for certain keywords that you get when people use that keyword on the social web.
- TwazzUp – If you want a buzz monitoring tool that focuses on Twitter, then TwazUp is your best bet. Simple, clean layout. Free.
- TwitterFall – Shows you how to monitor what is being said about your brand. Not the greatest layout, but the geolocation feature is cool for local search.
- Friend or Follow – Want to know who’s following you and who’s not? This tool is for you. Can be a little tricky when it comes to cleaning up your list, though.
- Wetoku – If you interview people with video, then make side-by-side video interviews with this easy-to-use tool. Easy to record and easy to share. Free.
- SocialCam – The easiest way to share videos with your social network. For Android and iPhone only.
- Instagram – Great way to treat and share your photos with your social networks. Combine this with Blurb and you can make great promotional books cheap.
- Board Tracker – Follow customers who are more likely to spend time on message boards than other channels. Remember, forums are social media, too.
Social Media Information
Blogs and books will tell you must of what you need to know about social media, but they don’t cover everything.
- Social Networking 101 – From getting started to more advanced stuff like “clickjacking” on Facebook, a comprehensive beginner’s guide on social media from the people at PC magazine.
- Social Media Glossary – Ever feel like people in social media are speaking another language? Find out the definitions for the top 100 social media words.
- Social Media ROI Pyramid – A great framework for understanding how social media can achieve your business goals by Jeremiah Owyang. Lots of graphs and charts.
- Social Media Best Practices – Brian Solis, the grandfather of social media suggests you follow these 14 guidelines if you want to succeed at social media.
- Social Media Cheat Sheet – Getting executive level approval on social media campaigns can be a pain some times. This infographic for CMO’s will help them understand the social media landscape.
- Ultimate Social Media List – Giant list of social media and networking sites by category that’s constantly updated. You got to see it to believe it.
- Social Media Marketing FAQ – Comprehensive question and answer on all things social media marketing. Great for beginners and experts.
Social Media Conferences
Attending a social media conference introduces you face-to-face with the best in the business. It’s really the climax of good social media efforts.
- BlogWorld and New Media Expo – Industry-wide conference for new media professionals that’s easily the biggest and the best.
- DigidaySocial – An event is designed to serve executives, presidents, CEOs, CMOs, EVPs and directors in charge of social media.
- PR + MKTG Camp – PR and marketing professionals meet to discuss the impact social media has on their disciplines. Very casual and great for brainstorming.
- Schmoozd – A casual conference where you can get to know other social media professionals while still walking away with tons of great ideas. The connections alone are worth it.
- Social Fresh – Social media training and events targeted to marketers. This event tours the country so you can typically find one near you.
- Social Media Strategies Summit – A great way to meet and learn from the best in the industry and grow your social media skill set. Events in London and Vegas.
- Social Biz World – Attend the keynote speeches, workshops and round-table discussions free of this small but very intimate conference.
- SXSW Interactive – An indie approach to social media conferences that will open your eyes to new possibilities and introduce you to unexpected social media experts. Always fun and interesting.